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Thread: Crazy talk about an M38A1

  1. #1
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    Crazy talk about an M38A1

    Hello folks, Brad here. I've been wrenching on cars, motorcycles and trucks for quite some time but this is my first Willys. Truthfully, I'd always wanted a Willys truck, not a jeep. Working at a client's a few months back I spotted this M38A1 long forgotten under a tarp and I've been dreaming about wheeling a vintage jeep since then. I inquired about it and was told it had been given to his son. My client said "it's a collectable, its #7"! Well I figure there's no way I'm getting my hands on it now. Still, I can't stop thinking about that dang jeep. A few weeks later, the son called me and asked if I wanted the old Willys! Heck yes I told him, what do you want for it? "A good home" he says. I was totally floored, which is funny because the old jeep doesn't really have one haha. The son tells me if he was going to do something with it he would've done it already. Its mine if I come get it! Turns out the jeep hadn't been registered since 1984, and spent most of that time under a tarp. I'm not going to lie, its pretty rough but I feel like I've seen worse brought back to life.

    Details, it's a 1953 M38A1 CDN model (I live in Ontario), it was built by Ford Canada, delivered 2-17-1953 and the serial # is F 00 07! I can't believe it, single digit vin!

    So here's some questions:
    -does #7 demand a totally original restoration because of its #? I mean, there are more than a few good original military restorations out there, right?
    -any guesses to what #7 is worth in original dress at the 100 year mark?
    -is it sacrilegious to put some modern updates on her to make wheeling with my family more fun, safe and reliable? Or should I sell/trade up for another Willys that doesn't carry the responsibility of #7?

    Oh my, I am excited either way. I kinda think seeing as it was a gift, and wheeled hard prior to me bringing it home I should just make a quality wheeler out of it, originality be d*mned. Doesn't #7 deserve to be a better version of herself? I guess I want to make memories, not $, off of this build. I'm sure you all will tell me I'm crazy, you'd probably be right haha. Looking forward to the build, whichever direction I choose to go! IMG_6520.jpg20191026_152219.jpg20191026_152159.jpg20191026_152442.jpg20191026_152138.jpg

  2. #2
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    Welcome Brad!

    Great gift you have! It doesn't look too bad at all from the pictures. I've had a lot worse;


    In my opinion, I would keep it bone stock. It is still your Jeep. Follow your heart because no matter what, she has risen up out of her hibernation to roam again.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=#7M38A1;9672]. I'm sure you all will tell me I'm crazy, "

    Well, that pretty well describes all of us here, so you are in good company.

    You are a responsible guy for worrying about such things as having lucky number 7. But, with great responsibility comes ... a lot of worry. Here is my 2-cents (3-cents Canadian) worth:

    A. I am a fan of keeping old Jeeps original as much as possible. There are a lot of newer Jeeps, but there are fewer and fewer old ones. I kept the ’48 2WD Truck as close to original as I could considering my 65 year history with it. On the M38A1, just about everything is available if you're willing to buy it.

    B. You want to make wheeling with the family more fun, safe and reliable. An M38A1 in original condition meets those wishes; it is a lot of fun, very reliable and as safe as just about any Jeep-size vehicle. You might want to add seat belts. An M38A1 with Canadian Force markings will turn heads everywhere you go – a lot more so than giving it a flashy modern paint job and chrome wheels

    C. It looks in better condition than most, so the mechanical work you really need to do (engine, brakes, steering) will go toward putting it back to original condition. We can’t see how much of the floors are missing, but the biggest body issue I see in the pictures is the snaggle toothed grill.

    D. Your biggest temptation is going to be changing the two-battery, 24-volt system to a 12-volt system. 24-volt parts will cost you more, no question - but it is a one-time investment if you need to do much work. Pelago found everything he needed for Magoo, his M38A1’s 24-volt system and it works well for him. The wiring harness with the Douglas and Packard connectors can be a pain….

    E. Let us know what you decide to do – and post pictures

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the response guys. I think close to stock is the way to go. I'll post pics as I go. The first ones will be of the new shop where the wrenching will happen!

  5. #5
    Super Moderator gmwillys's Avatar
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    We look forward to following your progress!

  6. #6
    Member scoutingranch's Avatar
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    Hmmm...can't go wrong with the price. Yep, stock. There are gobs of mess with old Jeeps, stock is best. New shop?? ahhh now your talkin'. As far as condition of your ride, from what I see, it's a peach. Go Army !!!
    "Options are for girls"

  7. #7
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    Hello Brad, that's a heck of a find. I'm new to this forum as well. I recently found a 1970 Willys/Kaiser J-200 truck and turning it into an extreme rock crawling machine, So I say go for the quality wheeler theme. Good luck with it whatever you decide to do, I'll be watching.

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